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152. Where’s The Line Between Politics And Morality?

When can we legislate an opinion? Who is to say that an opinion is a fact? The left has long called to bring the personal into politics, while also calling to keep politics away from people’s private decisions. These two things cannot exist together in one’s mind.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

-Plato

After a long Twitter discussion, I realized that this was the question at the heart of the debate. Is there a point that we can legislate morality? If so, what is that point? And, is there really an objective morality that can be applied in politics?

Abortion Politics

The discussion I found myself in was one about abortion, whether one can be personally opposed to it, but legislatively allow it. I think this principle is sound, but that it has limits. Here’s the tweet:

I’m personally pro-life but legislatively pro-choice. Does that make sense?

tweet by @Smallgovdude

Legislation and Politics

So, today we’ll take a look at this principle to see if there is a threshold that allows us to “legislate morality.” And, I want to look at the political situation to see what is and what isn’t appropriate to legislate. This is an important discussion if we are to have a functioning society.

Personal Beliefs

We can have beliefs about what is right and wrong, and we should. We ought to learn about the world and living properly in it. That is a virtuous and noble endeavor. And, I think that it is useful to engage in dialogue with others about the beliefs we hold. That is when it turns toward politics because politics is the way in which we learn how to live together.

Political Opinions

Our political opinions are those opinions about right and wrong, and how they ought to be enacted in society. Our beliefs on politics are not simply what is wrong or right. Instead, it’s whether or not that action should be punished, how it ought to be regulated, and who is required to follow those rules. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and it is here that we begin to decide what is right and wrong for society.

When Politics and Personal Meet

When we start to go from our personal beliefs to the political ones, it can be hard to have that discussion. If we talk about banning something or punishing an action, there are others who will be affected, and they may take that personally. It’s important to be delicate but clear in these discussions so we can let people know we aren’t attacking them, but are trying to curb the effect of something that is wrong or harmful.

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163. Book Review | The Analects, The Doctrine Of The Mean, and The Great Learning by Confucius Conversation of Our Generation

I wanted to review the Doctrine of the Mean and the Analects because I think they are full of amazing wisdom. Confucius is, in my opinion, on par with some of the greatest Greek philosophers. Having now read more of Plato’s work, I would compare these works to something like the Symposium or Republic. The question-and-answer style is very engaging and I think makes for a good demonstration of how to discuss ideas. The Wisdom of The Analects This is a readable, short discourse on morality, propriety, and virtue. It is an incredibly insightful work that delves into a range of topics, each one focused on making people better. Also, it has a familiar form of discourse where Confucius’ students ask him questions and he answers. To those who’ve read works by Plato or the Gospels, these techniques will be familiar and, in my opinion, inviting. “The superior man is catholic, not partisan.” -Confucius Although Confucius is from China, his ideas are incredibly similar to what we find in western philosophy. Furthermore, I believe the ideas expressed give a unique perspective since they don’t come from the West. Despite the similarity, there are differences that come out of this work in comparison to one from Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas. But, there is tremendous wisdom in this for anyone who is seeking truth. Grab your copy of The Complete Confucius: The Analects, The Doctrine Of The Mean, and The Great Learning What is the Doctrine of the Mean? The mean is an idea that exists in both in the East and West, and has a number of expressions. Different expressions of the Doctrine of the Mean are due to the fact it’s hard to pin down exactly. Aristotle, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and others have sought to explain the mean. Basically, the mean boils down to how to act morally and ethically. “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” Confucius Enjoy solving today’s problems with the wisdom of the past? Join the Conversation of Our Generation. — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
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